Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Florida 70.3 RR

Little cabin in the woods


Some of W40-44 podium

The hardware for Queen Linda and me

I love this race. Well, it's really a love-hate relationship. I've done all but two editions of this race and they are fairly consistent. I manage to end up with the same time nearly every year, just the swim/bike/run splits change. This year, the goal was to have a solid outing. I felt I would run well, based on recent performances. I knew I wouldn't swim fast because I never do in this slow, warm lake. The bike, well, that's always a question mark for me. I felt my bike training had gone well all spring but it hasn't panned out in any races as of yet. I'm like goldilocks on a bike, don't want it wet, stormy or windy, just hot, still and sultry. Didn't get my wish. We racked the bikes Saturday afternoon after a solid thunderstorm blew through - a sure sign of the next day! AM thunderstorms are a rarity in FL so I wasn't concerned that this would return in the morning and tried not to stress over things I cannot control, like the weather. Got up early Sunday as per the usual routine and saw the radar......another bad track of storms to blow through! I was done, mentally. Done. I swore after riding in the rain at Augusta 70.3 the previous September that I'm not doing another slow, sedentary slog through the rain! I hate riding in the rain and avoid it at all cost unless caught out in it unexpectedly. After breaking my ribs last June, I'm really weary of going through any sort of thing that may land me in the same disarray! Enough of the weather report part and on to the rest. The Dane, in his perpetual optimism, is the only reason I didn't pack up my shit and leave. I didn't eat anything because my stomach was in knots, not part of my plan. We had to finish our transition prep with lightening, thunder and rain. I was mentally done. Amazing how one can come in so charged and end up so drained.....that was me. Amazingly, the sky cleared and, after only a 20 minute delay, the pro wave was off and racing, which meant 16 minutes later, so would I. Great, try and warm up and wrap the head around the race again. On to the beach and into the water we go. I had a good start and was engaged for a while but after swimming around and through the prior wave of swimmers I was just ready to be out of the water. I didn't wear a watch this time because I always get pissed about my slow swim times here. Onto the bike and the wet. The bike course was quite wet for quite awhile and in true Florida fashion, with morning storms come wind! Not my strong suit! So, the bike course is ideal for me, lots of open roadways and not a lot of hills until you factor in the wind! I am not good in strong winds! At about 100 pounds, I do not produce enough power to feel comfortable enough to power through cheeky crosswinds. I did what I could and finally got into a rhythm and pissed enough about 45 miles into the bike that I got going a bit. I channeled my inner Queen K and just tried to salvage my horrid spectacle of a bike split (my slowest at this race). Into T2 and off onto the run I had some weird hamstring twinges but tried to ignore this and go. I knew then and there, my only chance to make the podium was to run. A new thing I did this year was to wear my Garmin on the run. The Truth meter, we call never lies! Some races you go through the marked mile splits wondering if they are accurate. With the Truth meter, a runner like me never has to wonder. It sync'd up nicely prior to hitting the timing mat out of T2 and off I went. And I went. I went as fast as my legs would take me. I knew a good chunk of the three loops was on uneven grass so I tried to make time up on the paved sections. We had more pavement this year than what I remember so that helped for sure. I picked off several gals in my AG and encouraged them along the way, hoping I wouldn't totally bonk and see them again! I ran like I didn't spend the past 3+ hours being totally out of my element and stressed to the max! Truth be told, I soft pedaled the bike which I saw once I saw my SRM numbers but I had faith in some part of my day, the run. I didn't give up, I gave all I had on the run. It got quite difficult on the third loop with all the other participants on course running around, between and through them (sorry guys). I ran with all I had, I didn't give up. I had hoped for a better finishing position in the end but I knew with the slow swim and bike I had, it wasn't likely to finish on the top step. So be it, I finished third in the AG and bravo to these super competitive women who braved the conditions a lot better than I! It was also my birthday which was a special feeling. I kept saying to myself on the run, what a crazy way to spend one's 44th birthday but, honestly, I wound't have it any other way! The Dane had a great day until he cramped later on the run. I ran past him and offered help but he was pretty despondent at that time. He still ended up in 8th which isn't bad, I think. Linda M, what can I say. She is the Queen and despite needing three liters of fluid in medical after the race, still won her AG by 35 minutes (which, of course, she is not happy with :). I had a very special birthday and one that I will always remember fondly, for the most part! I learned a lot about myself which is a gift! I also had a run PR for half IM run, never bad at 44! Thanks to all my family and FB friends for the well wishes, it really does mean a lot to me! The next race.....well...if I can go, may be this weekend! Stay tuned!